We travelled on a budget, and were amazed to find there are many free things to do in Singapore.
However, this list isn’t just for people on a budget. Art lovers, garden enthusiasts and architectural enthusiasts will also find places of interest within this post. The more money you save on things to do, the more you have to spend on a famous Singapore Sling cocktail.
A sprawling metropolis, this multi-cultural City was voted the safest place to live in 2018, and is a mix of Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and Western cultures. Singaporean's are proud of what they have achieved, and its fascinating history is clearly visible throughout the City, once you know where to look.
So without further ado, let Feet Do Travel share with you, 20 of the best free things to do in Singapore.
The famous Merlion is located at Merlion Park. The mythical Merlion is a half lion-half mermaid statue which is now the symbol of Singapore. The fish’s body represents Singapore’s origin as a fishing village, and the lion’s head is derived from the Country’s original name Singapura meaning “Lion City”. There are free toilets onsite, as well as cafes’ and a shop for stocking up on water and snacks.
Tip: For a funny photo, position yourself so it looks like the fountain of water is either pouring out or into your mouth.
After Merlion Park, hang around for a bit to people watch. Soak up the atmosphere then catch the sunset as it creeps across the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
Tip: This photo was taken from Jubilee Bridge, but another good spot is along Fullerton Heritage Promenade which is to the right of the Merlion statue.
For stunning views of the Singapore Skyline, ArtMuseum and Iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel, take a walk over the Helix Bridge. It can be reached on foot from Baysgrove MTR, or if you are walking from Merlion Park over the Jubilee Bridge towards Marina Bay. Hungry but on a budget? After Jubilee Bridge is the Esplanande, here you will find a 7/11 for a sandwich and crisps, alternatively there are hawker stands and plenty of restaurants to choose from.
Tip: Watch sunset at Merlion Park, then walk over the bridge for fabulous night photos, to watch either the Water and Light Display, or Garden Symphony.
In my personal opinion, this is the number one thing to do in Singapore full stop. Shown nightly at 8pm and 9pm, a spectacular 15 minutes Laser show is displayed over the Singapore River, and can be viewed from both sides.
I will admit to feeling just a little emotional at one point when my favourite piece of classical music was played (Chi Mai by Ennio Morricone). We watched the free Festival of Lights in Hong Kong, and honestly felt this kicked its butt! We were so close to the action,
Tip: If you want to feel part of the show, stand in front of the hotel or the Louis Vuitton Building. For a panoramic perspective, watch from the Merlion side of the river.
Light show: 7.45pm and 8.45pm
Gardens By The Bay is a must-see for any visitor, you simply cannot visit Singapore without taking a stroll through the giant artificial trees! During the day, take a walk amongst the supertrees around the 101 hectare park. But at night, this area is truly spectacular, as all the tree are illuminated. I will be 100% honest, the Garden Rhapsody didn’t wow us, maybe because we had watched the water show just before? Other people rave about it, and as it’s free, you should go and judge for yourself.
Tip: For the light show, for an Insta-worthy photo, lay on the ground to look up at the trees as they are illuminated. It will give you a whole other perspective.
Singapore Botanic Garden is a 158 year old tropical garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and ranked on TripAdvisor as Asia’s top park attraction ever since 2013. With these statistics, obviously you need to visit, and see for yourself. Open 5am to midnight every day of the year, you will have plenty of time to admire the 10,000 species of flora across the 82 hectare area!
Note: There is a $5 entrance fee to the National Orchid Garden. It’s the world’s largest tropical orchid garden, however the rest of the gardens are free.
If you don’t wish to pay for a boat trip, you can easily stroll along the river bank and enjoy the view. Start your walk in either direction, from Clarke Quay towards Merlion Park for sunset, or vice versa if you want night life at the river bank.
8. Raffles Landing Place and Statue
Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore on 28 January 1819, and was the founder of modern-day Singapore. You will find many roads and buildings named after him around the City. He changed Singapore from a small fishing village, into a modern metropolis.
There are two statues, the most iconic is at Raffles Landing Place, however this is actually a copy of the original bronze statue at Empress Place. The copy was placed at the Landing Site on the 150th anniversary of Singapore’s founding in 1969. The original statue is from 1887, and can be seen in front of Victoria Memorial Hall.
Around Singapore there are many bronze statues retelling Singapore’s history. “People of the River” depicts how the Singapore River used to be a giant swimming pool to the children that lived here, despite its polluted waters. Boat Quay and Clarke Quay are also an important part of Singapore’s trade history.
If you are female, or have the ability to dress up and look like a lady, head to Clarke Quay for ladies’ night on Wednesdays and drink for free.
Singapore is famous for its ladies’ night, so many places in the City offer free and/or discounted deals. Check out The Honeycombers or Ex Plat Living websites, they will divulge the best bars for free flow champagne and cocktails.
I’m sorry, did you say Street Art in Singapore? Yes I did! There is actually quite a lot of Street Art all over, once you know where to find it. Beautiful murals are depicted in the most random of places, this photo is at Clarks Quay, which you can see before you start your stroll along the river. Read our post Singapore Street Art for more locations.
12. Little India Heritage Trail
The Little India Heritage Trail is part of the National Heritage Board’s aim to preserve the history of places within Singapore. The beautifully multi-coloured former house of Tan Teng Niah, the last surviving Chinese Villa can be found here. There are also many other Heritage Trails in the series if this of interest to you, and booklets can be downloaded from www.roots.sg.
Tip: There is a delicious food court at Little India MRT station, so you can time some of your Heritage/Street Art trail around lunchtime.
Established in 1887 and named after Singapore’s founder, Raffles Hotel is Singapore’s oldest. For lovers of architecture, you will appreciate the neo-Renaissance style of high ceilings, tall French windows and marble floors. Don’t forget to take photos at the entrance’s grand façade.
Raffles Hotel is one of many of Singapore’s architecturally impressive buildings. You could continue your fascination of colossal towers by going on walking tour.
Tip: The famous Singapore Sling was invented here in 1915. If you wanted to spend the money you have saved by doing all these free things, head to the hotel’s Bar & Billiard room.
There are many different walking tours you can take which cover Little India, Kampong Glam and Chinatown to name a few. Indie Singapore run various free walking tours throughout the week.
Our tour stopped at Parkview Square, one of the most expensive office buildings in Singapore which has the nickname of “Batman Building”, due to its resemblance to the Gotham City. We took a look inside, the elaborately decorated building was worthy of its nickname. Lovers of gin take note; the Atlas Bar stocks the world’s largest gin collection.
Note: Although tours are free, the guide will tell you at the beginning that similar tours would usually cost $20. He is happy to accept tips.
15. Seek out Salvador Dali – perfect for art lovers
If you enjoy Salvador Dali sculptures, there are a few dotted around Singapore. Some can be found inside and around Parkview Square, at the ArtScience Museum, ION Orchard to name a few. The surrealist master has held a few exhibitions in Singapore so it’s worth checking out The Dali Universe website in advance.
For more Art Trails, head to Orchard Road’s outdoor artworks. Outside shopping malls and hotels, you will find many artworks created by local and international artists. All are near MRT Stations Orchard and Somerset. Look at the Visit Singapore Website for their Walking Tour and Art Trails.
You can take a self-guided tour around Chinatown, or jump on a free walking tour. Indie Singapore and Monster Day Tours are two companies that run free walking tours on Tuesday and Saturday respectively.
There are street stall sellers, some interesting street art, as well as the beautiful Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. The Temple was only built in 2007, and supposedly houses the recovered canine tooth of Lord Buddha.
Tip: If you time your day around lunchtime, there is a hawker food stall court inside that is definitely worth trying out.
17. Temple Tour
Sri Mariamman Temple dates back to 1827, is the oldest Hindu Temple in Singapore, and dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, who cures illness and disease.
Thian Hock Keng Temple, “Temple of Heavenly Happiness”, is the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore dedicated to Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea. It was built without using a single nail, and considered an architectural masterpiece. MRT: Telok Ayer
I know you didn’t come to Singapore to hit the gym (and all the various walking tours are enough to tire you out), but there are many free outdoor workout spots if you did want to maintain your fitness.
At Bendermer Road, there is a gym, basketball and football court. We also found gym equipment at Little India and Watten Estate Road, and we know there are more. Most are within public parks, Admirality Park and Yew Tee Park advertises a calisthenics workout with the “Calisthenics Parks app”. Look at www.calisthenics-parks.com for more information.
Prefer to run? There are a few running tracks free for public use. Around the National Stadium is an 888 metre track at the Singapore Sports Hub, and at Bedok Stadium you can run from 4.30am on the eight lane track.
Add some colour to your Singapore trip and visit the City’s first “Heritage town” at Joo Chait Road. The area’s identity is the pre-war architecture of colourful two-storey shophouses, and ornate facades. Quaint stores and eateries are mixed within these unique, charming buildings, the perfect place to sip a local coffee and to soak up the culture.
Located at Suntec City Shopping Mall, since 1998 the Fountain of Wealth has been listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest fountain in the world. At certain times of the day the fountain is turned off, and people are invited to walk around it three times for good luck.
Have you done any of these free things when you were in Singapore? Which was your favourite? Tell us in the comment section below!
If you are travelling to Singapore by train, we recommend you check the schedules ahead of time with 12Go Asia website. You can also book your tickets in advance online (as we did) to save time and hassle. If you continue to travel around Asia, you can use the same website for boat and bus schedules.
How to travel from Changi Airport to your accommodation
MRT: (Mass Rapid Transit) is fast, clean, cheap, reliable and the most efficient way of travelling around Singapore. It’s also quiet; no loud music, no chattering, most people wear headphones, nearly everyone is looking at their mobile/cell phone.
If you are here for a few days, it’s worth buying an EZ Link card at the station for $12. The card costs $5 which is pre-loaded with $7, however each fare is discounted from a single ticket so you will save money in the long run. Top up easily at any station when required. The average cost of a single ticket is $1.30-$2.50.
Taxi: Taxis from the airport are metered, fares costs around SG$20 - 35 depending on your destination, and what time of day you travel.
Grab: You can download the Grab App and use it to book taxis online, however they are not always cheaper than the City taxis. Grab was born in Singapore back in 2012, but is now used in eight South East Asian countries.
MRT: As already mentioned above.
Bike share/bike hire: It’s easy to hire a bike which is done via an app, but you will need internet. Buy a data card (passport is needed to register), download the app, scan the QR code on the bike then cycle away. When you are finished, park up in any designated parking area. Cost is approx. $0.50 for 20 minutes.
Ofo - www.ofo.com/sg/en
Mobike - www.mobike.com/sg
O Bike - www.o.bike
Where to stay in Singapore
Free: If you want to stay for free in Singapore, check out Couchsurfing! There are a few people you can contact, and Couchsurfing is a fantastic way of getting to know Singapore like a local.
Budget: If Couchsurfing isn't for you and you are on a budget, we stayed in Hotel 81 Premiere Star in Geylang which is part of a chain. The nearest MRT is Aljunied.
Mid Range: Hotel Bencoolen, Fairmount Singapore, Swissotel Merchant Court
Blow the budget: Three luxury hotels overlook the river, Marina Bay Sands, Mandarin Oriental and The Fullerton Hotel.
- Singapore was voted the safest City in the world in 2018.
- Officially known as the Republic of Singapore, it is both a city and country.
- Singapore is a year round destination, with an average temperate of 27°C (81°F). Peak times are November - January, June and July.
- It is one of only three City-States in the world, the other two being The Vatican City and Monaco.
- There are 63 smaller islands around SIngapore.
- The currency is Singapore dollar.
- Although English is widely spoken, there are four other languages, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and unofficially Singlish, a creole which is a mixture of Singapore’s four official languages, and is something the Government wish to be phased out.
- The name Singapore comes from the Malay words “Singa” for lion and “Pura” for City
- Singapore was once a British Colony. In 1819 Lieutenant General Sir Stamford Raffles came to the City State to establish a trading station which shaped modern day Singapore.
- Plug sockets are the same as UK – 3 pinned.
- Singapore in the Guinness World Records for many things, including the biggest game of pass the parcel, longest human domino chain, and the most number of people participating in a line dance (11,967).
- Singaporeans are polite people thanks to a Government backed campaign teaching ethics and mannerisms since 1970.
- The five stars in the national flag represent democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality. Red signifies brotherhood, white represents purity.
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